In my business, one tastes many sauvignon blanc wines, especially, these days, not only from California but from Chile and Argentina, the South of France and Australia. I wish I saw more from Bordeaux and the Loire Valley, but that’s simply not the case. (Though it is a plea.) Many of these sauvignon blancs are at least credible, some pleasant and decent, others bland and innocuous, and some, thank Bacchus and his pards, quite authentic and drinkable. And then there’s the Girard Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Napa Valley, a truly superior rendition of the grape. One must be cautious in throwing around words like “beautiful,” but in this case I’ll draw upon my account at the adjective bank and say, flat-out, that this is a beautiful sauvignon blanc, made all in stainless steel, so there’s no hint (or taint) of oak.

First come aromas of lemon, tarragon and dried thyme that unfold to reveal ripe peaches, lilacs, rose water and lime zest; you want to dab it behind your ears! In the mouth, the wine is notably clean and refreshing, taut and vibrant with acidity that deftly balances and enlivens a lovely soft, talc-like texture. Flavors of grapefruit, lemon curd and orange rind carry hints of sunny, leafy elements, while deep in the core lie subtle bell-tones of lavender and black currant. Most striking, though, is this sauvignon blanc’s irresistible verve and elan; while never forgoing its roots in sheer delight, its sense of purposeful poise and delicacy, it never lets us forget that it’s a wine of significant presence. We happily drank this with a bread salad. Exceptional. About $23.